2016-03-06 - Habakkuk
Outline: Praising God
As we examine Habakkuk’s words, we can see two messages. The first deals with us as members of our society. The second can be one of reassurance to us as confused humans.
The Corruption of Babylon
- Praise God - Verse 12
- God is Just, but … - Verse 13
- Fishers of Men - Verses 14-16
- Now What? - Chapter 2, Verse 1
- Praise God: Habakkuk begins his second argument by acknowledging who God is and what God is going to do. First, he speaks of the covenantal nature of God. God is the eternal one. It is because of Who He is that Habakkuk comes to Him and trusts Him. It is because of Who He is Habakkuk can speak to Him about the concerns over Judea. Feinberg notes:
“The prophet directs his appeal to God whom the enemy has treated contemptuously. He speaks representatively for his people and uses the well-known names for God as Jehovah, Holy One, and Rock. In addressing the everlasting God, he declares by faith that God’s people will not die. He knows the nature of the covenant-keeping God who will not allow His people to be wiped out. The ground of his confidence and hope is twofold: (1) God has been Israel’s God from ancient times; and (2) He is so holy that He must punish ungodliness whether in His own nation or in the enemy.”
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalms 90:2).
As Habakkuk speaks here, he moves from God and His relationship to the nation, to his own relationship with Him. As he speaks of God’s eternal nature, he also speaks to us.
It is this same eternal nature of God, His covenantal nature, that also is the foundation of our own relationship with Him. He has promised to save us through His Son’s shed blood. We are saved, and can’t lose our salvation because of who God is, not because of who we are.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Habakkuk also realizes that God is the judge, and will be judging Judea. He will be using Babylon, and there’s the rub. Armerding, speaking to the last two phrases of verse 12, notes:
“The name “Rock” evokes the strength and reliability of the “LORD” as Israel’s God …, and the concepts of “judgment” and “punishment” are correlated repeatedly (cf. Isa 11:3-4). The verb “punish” (yakah ) has a varied usage, with the underlying judicial meaning of “establishing what is just or right.” Frequently it signifies correction, verbal or otherwise, of an offender (e.g., Lev 19:17; Job 5:17; Ps 6:1). In these contexts “punish” generally implies a chastening that is redemptive rather than destructive; and the same overtones are appropriate to the present clause, with its address of confidence to Israel’s “Rock.” The same nuance is therefore inherent in the parallel noun “judgment” (mispat ), previously translated “justice” (1:4 [bis ]) and “law” (1:7); in keeping with its broad definition in v.4, it here implies the restoration of rule and authority through removal of the causes of disorder. As intimated already in vv.7-8, the Israelites’ rejection of God’s authority mediated through the law merely exposed them to the harsher experience of his authority mediated through an alien people. Man may determine by his conduct how he will encounter God’s sovereignty, but he cannot escape it!”
- Feinberg, Charles L., The Minor Prophets, Moody Press, Chicago IL, 1990, p. 209
- Amerding, Carl E., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, "Habakkuk," Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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CFD | February 2016
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